My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at this super amazing place in Tuscany! They were actually married in June of 1964, but they picked October for the weather. Spannocchia is a working organic farm located on a historic agricultural estate covering 1100 acres, with a 15th-century Castello and a scattering of other historic farmhouses nestled amongst olive groves, herb gardens, forests and vineyards. They run a sort of B&B there, as well as hosting an international group of agricultural interns and educational programs. We (extended Curtis family of 10) rented two of the old stone farmhouses on the property to spend the week there together. Then most of the family headed back home, while my parents stayed on at the house for another week, joined by a group of assorted friends. I stayed there for 10 days all together – just long enough to really settle into a very cozy routine there!
One of the special things at Spannocchia is the population of wild boars that live in the forests surrounding the farm, whose meats were prominently featured on the local restaurant menus. We glimpsed some of them crossing the dirt road by our house at dusk, and at night we could hear them snorting and rooting in the woods just beside the house! While the castle and farm buildings are surrounded by neat fields and farmland, our farmhouse was a twenty-minute walk down the hill, surrounded by forest. Although we spend lots of time in the woods back home, this Tuscan forest felt so different, very wild and unfamiliar! Walking on the road at nightfall, we’d hear such strange noises from the woods and our flashlight beam would catch gleaming eyes staring at us through the trees.
As a family, some of our favorite things to do together are cooking and EATING! The farmhouse rental includes a beautiful box of seasonal produce from the farm. We got fresh greens, squash and zucchini, leeks, onions, cured sausage, and I’ve forgotten what other wonders. And then we got to head down to Rosia, the nearby town, to visit the grocery store for the rest of our kitchen provisions, which was ridiculously fun for me. There’s something amazing about shopping in foreign grocery stores, the mix of familiarity and strangeness, and the game of hunting for something specific when you can’t read the language on the packages. You wouldn’t imagine how many different kinds of Italian chocolate we had to lay in for this crowd, for a week.
We spent the week exploring the farm and the forests, bit by bit. One of our first stops was to visit the piglets! Spannocchia raises a heritage breed of pigs, the Cinta Senese, a striped pig that was traditionally raised in this area. The Cinta Senese breed was in danger of dying out before Spannocchia brought them back again. We missed the tiny piglet stage, but got to see some medium-sized piglets, who were still very cute and hungry, wiggling their curly tails adorably at mealtime. The mama pigs were shockingly huge.
We did so many fun outings during our stay here, hiking and cooking classes and cities and… I’ve made a few posts and you can see them all in one place here.
And while I’m here, happy 50th anniversary to my parents! They are one of my favorite couples around. So glad they put on this fantastic celebration in such an incredibly beautiful place! These are some pictures of them lately (not in Tuscany, back home in Maine).